I am not a poet…..
And I’m not saying
That to be clever,
Like the man who says, “I am not a poet,
I am merely a secretary to the ever-resounding voice of nature
As it whispers rare truths into my ear.”
Or to criticize, like this student in my class who says stuff like, “Poetry blows.
It’s complicated for no reason and super pretentious.”
I’m not saying that.
I’m just saying that I’m bad with slant
And I suck with syllables,
Free verse muffles me,
And sonnets constrict.
I am not a poet.
What I really mean here is that I am not
A performance poet, a ‘slammin!’ poet, an
Articulate poet who can woo women,
And you, with sexily inflected rhymes.
Return to text.
I am young and naïve. My
Take on the world is immature.
I am a student you don’t know.
A student you had never heard of until now, and
Odds are will never hear from again.
I am a student who bathes in and with books, devouring D’Agata
and Barth, Wallace and Eggers.
I am a savvy student.
I am a historically anonymous student.
You do not know that I am from Philadelphia, though Canadian.
That I was afraid of being home alone until high school.
That I have never had a car accident.
I’m post-modern not because of the things I read or the way I write,
But because of how unbearably self-conscious I am in my attempt to be cool.
I check the mirror 5 times before I go out, and I edit 10 times for style.
I know this, you’re probably picking up on this, so let’s just get it out there.
I’m aware of myself,
And I can’t stop talking about it.
I would like to be, but am not, a poet because
Poetry is incarcerated for identity theft and
I really just don’t want to get involved.
And, of course, when I suggest that poetry is dying, I mean that the American reader is dying,
Which is a distinction I am hesitant to make considering America’s grotesque narcissism, our constant masturbation, that isolates all others and makes mention of their presence uncool and/or obsolete.
Return to text.
America overwhelms and relativizes, destroying
Distinctions and excommunicating categories. The artist is dead.
The mother is dead. The teacher is dead.
The lover is dead. The parent, employer,
Student, writer, friend, thinker, director
There was no bang and there was no whimper,
There was just us in our Hunger Games of
entertainment and pleasure, until we suddenly found
ourselves lost on the muted Sea, drowning with
the Pirates of the Caribbean under the
thin smirk of our CGI’d Twilight.
I am not a poet, because I don’t know how to say.
I don’t know what to hear.
I can talk about America and meaning,
Youth and pretension, culture and significance,
But I, the artist-mother-teacher-
Thinker-director, the not-poet,
Just don’t know who can listen.
So, allow me to introduce you to the Capital-P Poem,
Whose home is silence. Let’s savor Him
Until we’re done.